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Poster: yofitofu Date: Nov 28, 2009 12:48am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Those watermarks - where video sources are defaced by them

I found a new site springing up which offers some very old and very rare silent era cartoons which are mostly in the PD - What I find concerning, however, is the fine print section of the website

Here, the "collector" of these cartoons, Tom Stathe, seems to be saying that he has some "ownership" of the materials by virtue of having "restored" them, which seems to mean he has transferred them to DVD, maybe cleaned them up a bit, perhaps added music?

Do you think this is a legitimate claim of ownership in the works in question? He has not changed the films content to any degree I can see. And how to really determine this if the "owner" is probably unwilling to show off the originals?

I understand the desire to protect one's own business interests and thwart competition, but where is the line drawn on what is a"restoration" and what is not?

Of slightly more concern is the fact that, according to the Film Superlist 1894-1939, quite a few of the titles he is offering did have their copyrights renewed.

This aside, does anyone think this is a legitimate claim of ownership?

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Nov 28, 2009 1:19am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Those watermarks - where video sources are defaced by them

Even if the restoration includes new tinting, title cards, score and any other new copyright worthy element the original underlying public domain footage is not the subject of the new copyright simply because it is included in the "restoration." Restoration (photochemical or digital) of film footage is not work protected by copyright, only "new" creative work can be copyright and restoration is not sufficiently creative. It is seen as being in the same class as making a photocopy. You are attempting to make a best quality facsimile of the original work not a new derivative work.

So, even if these DVDs contain new elements, there is nothing in copyright law that stops anyone from removing and using the original footage as long as they don't use any of the new copyrightable elements added by the restorer.

Nice how they "will not stop other video outlets from releasing alternate restorations made from verifiably different source elements" as if they would have any right to in the first place.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-11-28 09:19:13